Why the Air Conditioner May Give You a Sore Throat
The sun in our region can make the summer unbearable. If you have your air conditioning running all the time to keep up with the heat, it can have unfortunate consequences in the form of a sore throat and other respiratory symptoms.
Does air conditioning cause a sore throat? Yes, it can, and it’s worse if your air conditioner isn’t installed properly or has problems. Air conditioners dry out the air, leading to irritation in your throat and sinuses.
For some, these symptoms go away as the season goes on, but for others, it can be a limitation to having air conditioning running regularly. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why Do I Have a Sore Throat?
Air conditioners remove the humidity from the air and transfer hot air outdoors, recycling the cooled air. This is how they can cool your home effectively, but that comes with excessive dryness and irritation to your nose and throat.
Here are some common symptoms people experience with air conditioning:
- Sinus dryness and discomfort
- Dryness in your throat or mouth
- Itchy eyes or skin
If you have pre-existing health conditions or environmental allergies, you may experience worse symptoms from air conditioning. If you have problems with your air conditioning, however, you can experience irritation that won’t go away and makes using your air conditioning uncomfortable, such as:
Bad AC Installation
A poorly installed air conditioning system can’t run as it should. Areas inside the system become stagnant, leading to a buildup of mold and bacteria that are let out into your home. When this happens, the combination of dryness and contaminants can exacerbate sore throats and respiratory symptoms. Always choose professional installation from a qualified HVAC professional instead of installing your system yourself.
Cracked or Broken Ductwork
If your ductwork has cracks or damage, it can allow dust, dirt, and dander to get into the ducts. These contaminants bypass the filter and end up back in your home, causing irritation in your throat and sinuses.
Lack of AC Maintenance
Air conditioners should be maintained regularly from a qualified HVAC professional at least once a year. If you live in a dusty climate or have a lot of pets, it may be necessary to maintain your system more frequently. This not only keeps it running optimally, but it prevents problems that can worsen your respiratory symptoms. In addition to scheduled maintenance from a professional, clean and replace your air filters regularly.
Closed Vent Control
If you operate your air conditioner with the vent control closed, your system can’t properly exchange the air from the indoor area to the outdoor area effectively. Like poor installation, this creates stagnation in different components that can harbor bacteria and mold. Always make sure you run your air conditioning with the vent control open.
What You Can Do If the Air Conditioner Is Giving You a Sore Throat
If your air conditioning has any of the problems mentioned, it’s important to correct them. Schedule an appointment for maintenance from a qualified HVAC technician to tune up your air conditioner and repair any problems. Your HVAC technician will also be able to ensure that it’s installed properly.
Once that’s complete, take these additional steps to improve your air quality.
- Don’t run your air conditioner around the clock. Instead of having it going all night and day, try economy mode to cycle it on and off as needed. If you’re going to be out of your home for a while and don’t have pets, turn your air conditioner off before you leave.
- Put a humidifier in different rooms in your home to restore the moisture in the air. Based on recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the humidity levels in a home or workspace should be between 30 and 50%. Speak to your HVAC technician about the best humidifier for your space and needs.
- Get outside into the fresh air. Indoor air isn’t ideal for oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which can cause respiratory irritation. Spend some time outside as much as you can to relieve your symptoms.
- Clean and replace your air filters regularly to remove contaminants like pet hair, dust, and dirt. These can circulate back into your home if your air filter is dirty, making your sinuses and throat irritated.
- Stay hydrated all year. This is especially important during the hot summer months, since you lose a lot of fluid through sweat. You should also keep water nearby if you spend a lot of time in low-humidity environments, like your air conditioned home or office. Drinking enough water will prevent dryness and irritation in your throat.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals, strong scented cleaners, or fragranced air fresheners that will irritate your throat and lungs. You could be thinking it’s your air conditioning when it’s actually the irritants in these products.
Do you need air conditioning maintenance or repairs? Contact Proskill to schedule your appointment!